In CUPS, you can set system default destination with:

lpadmin -d <printer_name>

or with:

lpoptions -d <printer_name>

However I wasn't able to find a way to remove default destination (so that there's none in the system).

Even worse, if you remove a printer and then re-add it under the same name it becomes the default automatically!

Any ideas how to de-default a printer?

  • You could try lpadmin -r or man printers.conf .... Known printers are listed in /etc/cups/printers.conf ... The file is automatically generated and edited through the use of lpadmin , lpoptions , and other programs. However, you could try to manually edit the file after stopping the cups service... systemctl stop cups ... and see if the printer in question has been removed. Dec 18, 2018 at 13:54

2 Answers 2


CUPS will always regard one of the printers it has installed as its default printer.

If you do not explicitly configure one (with the command you mentioned), it will apply the following logic:

  1. Look up if the environment variables LPDEST and/or PRINTER are set in its current environment. If so, it uses these.

  2. If neither of '1.' are set, it will see if you provided a default target with the lpoptions -d command (this could be different on a per-user basis!).

  3. If '2.' lookup fails, it considers if lpadmin -d had set a system-wide default print queue.

And I think, if all that fails it will pick another one as its default: the first one installed, or the first one which appears in the list (alphabetically) -- but at the moment I cannot remember which.

One thing you could try, is to set the LPDEST and PRINTER env vars to an invalid/non-existing printer name (after removing also these potentially set defaults done with lpadmin/lpoptions).

What is the reason why you want no default CUPS printer on your system?


I just found this post. For anyone who needs to remove the default printer in CUPS, there is a file lpoptions in /etc/cups that contains the default printer info. Just delete this line out of the file using a text editor and save and the default printer should be gone. My OS is RHEL 7.

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